Your 2019 Content Marketing Playbook – Part 4: Use Data To Drive Content Creation and Placement
Content creation is often thought of as a creative endeavor. As such, the idea of using data to drive content creation and placement is often overlooked. But data drives business and that is true for content marketing as well. Ignoring data and facts is short-sighted, can waste precious resources, and may even completely derail your content marketing efforts.
Data can tell us who is accessing our content, what they are doing with it, and which forms of content are most effective. Putting out content just for the sake of putting out content won’t get you anywhere. What you need to do is create content that your specific audience wants and then get that content in front of them at the right time.
Data can help you do that.
8 Pieces Of Data That Can Help Improve Content Marketing Results
- The Buyer Persona. If you have developed buyer persona’s or audience profiles, we hope you’re using them! Buyer personas are generic customer profiles of every type of customer you have. A persona will include information like demographics, job titles or professions, personality traits, pain points, and the information they look for.
- Google Analytics. This handy tool allows website owners to access loads of useful data. You can track visitor traffic and conversion rates, see where your visitors are located geographically and how they used your website. Pay close attention to pages that have high conversion rates or a lot of hits. These indicate high interest in the content of those pages and can provide you with ideas for the type of content your audience prefers.
- Customer Data. Customers are people who’ve already converted or made a purchase from you. As such, information about their buying habits is invaluable. Fortunately, it’s also fairly easy to access. Examine purchase details and when and how the purchase was made (in-person, online, etc.). Look for common denominators to identify factors that influence sales. What gender are your buyers? What are they purchasing? Where are they purchasing it? You might even decide to personally interview some customers. You can do this randomly or target your most frequent customers, biggest spenders, or biggest fans on review sites or social media.
- Sales Team Feedback. If your business relies on salespeople, talk to them! These are the people who are closest to your customers and prospects; they have valuable insights about customer needs, expectations, and pain points. The sales group can also be a great resource for providing feedback on your content before it goes out.
- Surveys. Surveys, quizzes, and tests are a great way to gain insights into your customers’ needs. Surveys provide direct feedback from customers but can also be used with prospects. People LOVE being asked to provide their opinion! You can point blank ask them what kinds of content they prefer (whitepapers, blogs, videos, infographics, etc.) and how and when they access it (at home, at work, on their smartphone, on a computer or tablet, etc.) Quizzes or tests can be run for light-hearted fun on your social media pages, but they can also provide deeper insights into customer ideals, needs, and wants. In all of these examples, you can add a few demographic questions to learn more about your respondents (age, location, job, income, etc.).
- Almost-Customers. Don’t forget to reach out to your almost-customers. These are people who may have visited your site but not made a purchase or even added something to their cart and then abandoned it. Send a follow-up email to find out why they didn’t go through with the purchase.
- Browse Forums. Online forums are an excellent place to learn more about customer needs, expectations, and pain points – and maybe about your competition as well. A simple search of your industry plus “forum” will get you started with a list of suitable sites. Q&A sites like Quora are also a great resource.
- Google It. Yes, you can use Google! Google’s autosuggest function to see the most common searched related to your keywords or concepts or products. Just start typing into the Google search bar and see what pops up. Those auto suggested phrases aren’t random, they are based on searches actually conducted and ranked in order from most commonly queried to least.
Using Your Data
Once you’ve collected data you’ve got to put it to good use! Use the information you’ve gleaned to:
- Identify Customer Needs. The data you’ve collected should help you identify pain points, questions, or problems that you customers have. It will also identify things that the customers value most about your business as well as areas that need improvement.
- Develop Content Topics. What kind of information do your customers want? What do they search for? Use this information to develop a content marketing plan that addresses their needs, answers questions, manages pain points, and establishes your business as a trusted resource.
- Identify Content Avenues Or Platforms. Your data should tell you where your audience is going for information and how they are accessing it. If you find out that your audience doesn’t access podcasts, don’t invest time or money into creating them. Likewise, if they almost always access your content from their phone, make sure your content is mobile-friendly.
- Analyze Conversion Paths. By collecting information about your existing customers, you can see how they came to be customers. What path did they take to conversion? Focus on creating content for those paths and be sure to optimize the routes to make conversion easier.
Remember, content marketing isn’t about making the sale. It’s about providing information, making connections with customers, building an audience, and establishing brand authority.
That means your content does not have to make a sale every time. What it does have to do is draw attention to your business and promote some kind of interaction with the consumer. If you give thought to the type of content you provide, where you provide it and provide content that has value, you will be well on your way to content marketing success.
For additional advice and help getting started accessing and analyzing your data, contact Orlando Content Marketing. We would be happy to help you develop a data-driven content marketing plan!
Check back for Part 5 in this series: 5 Content Marketing Trends To Watch In 2019!